5G Technology Begins To Expand Beyond Smartphones

Proponents of 5G technology have long said it will remake much of day-to-day life. The deployment of superfast 5G networks is believed to herald a new era for much more than smartphones – everything from advanced virtual-reality video games to remote heart surgery. The vision has been slow to come to mind, but the first wave of 5G-enabled gadgets is emerging.

Last among the first uses of 5G to enter the consumer market is the delivery of home broadband Internet service to cord-cutters: those who want to not only drop their cable-TV bills but also give up internet access via wires altogether. give. For example, Samsung Electronics Co. has partnered with Verizon Communications Inc. to offer a wireless 5G router. Which promises to provide broadband access at home. The router takes a 5G signal just like a smartphone.

Other consumer devices that are starting to hit the market include 5G-compatible laptops from several manufacturers, all of which are faster than other laptops and offer high-quality video viewing when connected to a 5G network. (The laptop requires a 5G chip to make that connection.)

In the latest: Lenovo Group Ltd., in association with AT&T Inc., in August released a 5G laptop, the ThinkPad X13 5G. The device, which started shipping last month, comes with a 13.3-inch screen and retails for around $1,500. Samsung also introduced a new laptop in June that offers 5G connectivity. The Galaxy Book Go 5G has a 14-inch screen, and retails for around $800.

OK, but what if you want a 5G connection on your yacht, miles offshore? You have good luck. Meridian 5G, a Monaco-based provider of internet services for superyachts – the really big ones – advertises 5G Dome Routers, a combination of antennas and modems that are within about 60 miles of the coast to access 5G connectivity. Allows sailing. Hardware costs about $17,000 for an average-sized Superyacht.

America is ready for China’s Huawei, and it just happened

Of course, all of these gadgets are only useful where 5G networks are available, which still doesn’t cover a lot of locations, onshore or off. The same holds true for new drone technology unveiled by Qualcomm Inc in August with 5G and artificial-intelligence capabilities. The company says the technology called Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform enables high-quality photo and video collection.

Drones equipped with 5G technology can be used in a variety of industries, including filming, mapping and emergency services like firefighting, Qualcomm notes. For example, due to new camera technology enabled by 5G, drones can be used for mapping large areas of land and for rapidly transferring data for analysis and processing.

Proponents of 5G technology have long said it will remake much of day-to-day life, bringing the so-called Internet of Things to a point where you can name any number of devices—home and office appliances, Industrial equipment, hospital equipment, vehicles, etc.—will be connected to the Internet and exchange data with the cloud at a speed that will allow for new capabilities.

“The goal of 5G, when we have a mature 5G network globally, is to make sure everything is connected to the cloud 100% of the time,” Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said at a conference in Germany last month.

But it will take years for 5G devices to become widespread, analysts say, as network coverage expands and markets develop for all those advanced new products.

By: Meghan Bobrowsky

Meghan Bobrowsky is reporter with the tech team. She is a graduate of Scripps College. She previously interned for The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Sacramento Bee. As an intern at the Miami Herald, she spent the summer of 2020 investigating COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and federal Paycheck Protection Program fraud. She previously served as editor in chief of her school newspaper, the Student Life.

Source: 5G technology begins to expand beyond smartphones

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Six Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing A New Cellphone Company

Thinking about switching wireless providers? We highlighted some of the most important things to consider while making your decision.

Whether you’re looking for a cheaper phone plan, a great deal on a new phone or just better coverage where you live, switching cellphone providers presents a great chance to step up your phone game.  

Unfortunately, wading through all the marketing buzzwords in cellphone plans can feel like the least fun kind of homework. To make things simple, we broke down the process into the six most important questions you should consider before switching.

Should I go with a prepaid plan?

If you’re looking to save money with your new carrier, prepaid carriers have some of the cheapest phone plans you’ll find anywhere. This means that you’ll pay for your monthly bill upfront instead of after the fact. Many carriers also offer some decent discounts if you prepay for multiple months at a time. 

This is one of the best ways to save money on a cellphone plan. Here are a few popular phone plans, along with the money you’d save by switching to a cheaper prepaid plan:

PlanMajor carrier planCheaper planYearly savings
Four lines of unlimited dataVerizon Get More Unlimited ($220/mo.)Total Wireless ($100/mo.)$1,440
One line of unlimited dataT-Mobile Magenta Plus ($85/mo.)Mint Mobile ($30/mo.)$660
One line of 2GBAT&T ($35/mo.)Tello ($14/mo.)$252
One line of 5GBVerizon ($40/mo.)Boost Mobile ($25/mo.)$180

All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. Auto-pay discounts not included. As of 11/24/20.

These companies are called mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. That means they piggyback off the major networks — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — rather than use their own cellular towers. 

The conventional wisdom says that MVNOs have worse coverage than the companies who operate their own networks. But in practice, customers have often been more satisfied with their service. According to a Consumer Reports survey of their 103,000 members, MVNOs almost always scored higher than carriers that operate their own network. (T-Mobile was the lone exception.) Learn more about prepaid phone plans

Do I need a new phone?

One of the best perks of switching to a new cellphone company is that you can usually pick up a free phone in the process. Unfortunately, these phone deals are mostly confined to the major carriers. If you go with a prepaid plan, you’ll probably have to go with an older phone if you want to get one for free. Here are some of the best deals available through the “big three” carriers right now: 

To get deals on new phones from these companies, you’ll have to commit to a two-year contract and open a new unlimited data line. Many times, you’ll also have to trade in an eligible phone. But those steps are usually worth the hassle. Right now, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are all offering free iPhone 12 models when you switch.  Learn more about phone deals

Which carrier has the best coverage in my area?

While most people switch carriers because of price, it can also be a good opportunity to improve your coverage, too. In most third-party tests, T-Mobile and Verizon usually take first place, with AT&T coming in last. Here’s how some of the major analyses rank the networks:

SourceAT&TT-MobileVerizon
Ookla Speed Score™41.6533.4931.40
Ookla Consistency Score™81.4%80.8%76.9%
RootMetrics Overall Performance94.186.795.2
OpenSignal Download Speed Experience32.6 Mbps28.2 Mbps27.4 Mbps
OpenSignal 4G Coverage Experience9.58.89.8
Consumer Reports Data ScoreFairVery goodGood
Consumer Reports Reception ScorePoorGoodGood
Allconnect Score7.507.897.85

Data as reported by Ookla, Root Metrics, OpenSignal, Consumer Reports

Of course, just because one carrier scores well overall doesn’t mean it will be the strongest in your specific area. We recommend checking out each of their coverage maps to find one that has a strong network where you live.

Keep in mind, if you go with a prepaid carrier, it will use one or more of the networks above, so it’s still a good idea to check its coverage before you sign up.  Learn more about cellphone coverage

Is it time to get a 5G phone?

If you’ve turned on a TV in the past year, you’ve probably been inundated with commercials telling you that the “best 5G network” is already right in your backyard. The truth is a little more complicated. 

While AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all made great strides on their 5G networks, the next generation of wireless technology is still not available everywhere. According to tests from Ookla, T-Mobile users in the U.S. connected to 5G 54% of the time in October, compared 18% for AT&T and less than 1% for Verizon.

But wherever we currently are in the 5G race, there’s no debating that it’s the future. If you’re looking to switch cellphone providers, it’s worth factoring into your decision. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon include 5G coverage in all of their unlimited plans, and you can also get good deals on 5G phones when you open a new line.  Learn more about 5G plans and coverage

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. Just like the 4G rollout a decade ago increased data speeds — the internet connection your phone uses when you’re away from Wi-Fi — 5G promises an even faster connection. Right now, average 5G speeds in the U.S. are 52 Mbps, which is about twice as fast as 4G, but they should rise much higher. Verizon’s average 5G speeds are a whopping 494.7 Mbps already, although its network is much more limited than that of AT&T and T-Mobile.

Should I open a family plan?

If you’re already on a family plan with your current cellphone company, it’s a no-brainer to open another one with your new carrier. But if you’ve only been looking at one-line accounts for your new plan, it’s worth getting a few people together who might also be interested in switching. The savings can be enormous.  

For AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, the price per line on family plans is half the price of a single line.

What’s more, phone deals for new customers are typically available for each line that’s opened. So, if four people open a new family plan, all four would likely be able to get significantly discounted phones in the move. 

You don’t always need to have one account-holder handle the bill every month, either. Carriers like Visible Wireless let each line manage their own account, so you can skip the frantic Venmo requests at bill time every month.   Learn more about family plans

Which streaming services do I want?

All of the major cellphone companies tie in perks like free streaming subscriptions to their plans. Here’s what you can get right now:

  • AT&T: HBO Max included with $85/mo. plan (one line)
  • Boost Mobile: TIDAL HiFi included for six months
  • T-Mobile: Netflix included with two or more lines ($60/mo. plans and up)
  • Verizon: Apple Music, Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN+ included 

But while these are certainly enticing, they shouldn’t be the only factor when deciding where to switch. In some cases, these plans are so much pricier than cheaper options that you could subscribe to the services separately and still save money with another carrier.

FactorAT&T Unlimited EliteT-Mobile Magenta PlusVerizon Play More Unlimited
Price$85/mo. (one line)$140/mo. (two lines)$80/mo. (one line)
Streaming perksHBO MaxNetflix StandardApple Music, Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN+
Streaming value$15/mo.$14/mo.$23/mo.
Price minus streaming perks$70/mo.$126/mo.$57/mo.

All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 11/24/20.

That’s certainly the case with AT&T and T-Mobile — after the value of the streaming services is factored in, their plans are still pretty pricey — but Verizon’s perks actually add up to a whopping $23/mo. Granted, you might not even want each of Apple Music, Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN+. But if these promotions catch your eye, it’s worth doing a little math before making a decision based solely on these.

By: Joe Supan

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Reviews.org

What cell phone provider (or network) should you go with? We have a full review on that at https://www.reviews.org/mobile/best-c… but… We think choosing a cell phone provider comes down a combination of price, data, coverage, and what your needs are. We’ll discuss it all in this video review. Related reviews: Best Cell Phone Plans For Seniors — https://www.reviews.org/mobile/best-c… Best Cell Phone Plans For families — https://www.reviews.org/mobile/best-f… Best Cell Phone Plan Coverage — https://www.reviews.org/mobile/best-c…

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